Social commentary

What Happened to Home Economics?

What Happened to Home Economics?
Article by Christen McCurdy, Illustrated by Monica Garwood, appeared in issue Maps & Legends; published in 2014; filed under Social commentary.
The rise and fall of a contested discipline

illustration by Monica Garwood

The only time any teacher talked about birth control at my rural Idaho high school was in a home economics class. I took the class, called Parenting Skills and Child Development, mostly to plug a hole in my schedule that semester. Well into college, whenever I mentioned that I took a parenting class in high school, people would almost reflexively snicker: Isn’t parenting a set of skills everybody should just have? My sophomore-year roommate said, “I just think of classes like that as classes for idiots,” and went on to snark that we needed more classes telling people how to avoid becoming parents in the first place.

Craving the Other

Craving the Other
Article by Soleil Ho, Illustrated by Ana Benaroya, appeared in issue Food; published in 2013; filed under Consumer culture, Social commentary.
One woman's beef with cultural appropriation and food

For a long time, Vietnamese food made me uncomfortable. It was brothy, weirdly fishy, and full of the gross animal parts that other people didn’t seem to want. It was too complicated.

I wanted the straightforward, prefabricated snacks that I saw on television: Bagel Bites, Pop-Tarts, chicken nuggets. When my grandmother babysat me, she would make tiny concessions, preparing rice bowls with chopped turkey cold cuts for me while everyone else got caramelized pork. I would make my own Bagel Bites by toasting a normal-size bagel and topping it with Chinese sausage and a dash of Sriracha. My favorite snack was a weird kind of fusion: a slice of nutrient-void Wonder Bread sprinkled with a few dashes of Maggi sauce, an ultraplain proto–banh mi that I came up with while rummaging through my grandmother’s pantry. In our food-centric family, I was the barbarian who demanded twisted simulacra of my grandmother’s masterpieces, perverted so far beyond the pungent, saucy originals that they looked like the national cuisine of a country that didn’t exist.

Laughing It Off

Laughing It Off
Article by KatherineLeyton, Illustrated by blairestapp, appeared in issue Gray; published in 2013; filed under Social commentary.
What happens when women tell rape jokes?

Helen Thomas, Off the Record

Helen Thomas, Off the Record
Article by Mark Mondalek, Illustrated by lisabrowndraws, appeared in issue Gray; published in 2013; filed under Social commentary.
A few opinions from the First Lady of the Press

All Hail the Queen?

All Hail the Queen?
Article by Tamara Winfrey Harris, appeared in issue Micro/Macro; published in 2013; filed under Social commentary.
What do our perceptions of Beyonce's feminism say about us?

House of Pain

House of Pain
Article by Maya Dusenbery, appeared in issue Pulp; published in 2013; filed under Social commentary.
The latest blow to the Violence Against Women Act

Navy Steals

Article by Seth Kershner, appeared in issue Habit{at}; published in 2012; filed under Social commentary.
The military's new interest in STEM education

Annals of Junk Science: G-Spotting

Article by Keely Savoie, appeared in issue Elemental; published in 2012; filed under Social commentary.

On April 25, the online edition of the Journal of Sexual Medicine ran an article by cosmetic gynecologist Adam Ostrzenski, MD, who reported that he had teased a “blue grape-like” sac out of a dead woman’s vagina. This was proof, he claimed, of the “anatomic existence” of the G-spot, the elusive (but much-heralded) erotogenic area that can be stimulated through the vaginal wall.

Life on Mars (Hill)

Life on Mars (Hill)
Article by Alison Sargent, Illustrated by Ryan Brown, appeared in issue Elemental; published in 2012; filed under Social commentary.
In the nation’s fastest-growing megachurch, faith and feminism don’t mix.

When Jess came to the University of Washington as a freshman, she was a feminist economics major whose postcollege goal was to land a position at an organization dedicated to social entrepreneurship. Now in her early 20s and just a few years out of college, she is married, looking forward to a life as a homemaker, and involved full-time at the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church, one of the hippest, fastest-growing, and most conservative evangelical churches in the nation.

In Richness and in Wealth

In Richness and in Wealth
Article by Gretchen Sisson, Illustrated by Evah Fan, appeared in issue Fame + Fortune; published in 2012; filed under Social commentary.
What does it mean to be a modern-day trophy wife?

Illustration by Evah Fan.

Little serious thought has been devoted to the trophy wife, that caricature permanently relegated to being an adornment on the arm of a spouse defined by his wealth and power, the May to her husband’s December.

In 1994, New York Times “On Language” columnist William Safire compiled a brief history of the term “trophy wife.”

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